Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 10:35 PM
Wok at 1613 Walnut St. since 1993.

Walnut Street is losing a longtime restaurant after Monday, Feb. 17 as Wok (1613 Walnut St.) shuts down after nearly 21 years.

Talk on the street is that the two-story building will go retail with the luxe lifestyle brand Calypso St. Barth signing a lease.

Wok owner Tony Cheng's people are downplaying the closing, suggesting in an email blast that Wok is in fact merging with Szechuan Hunan (274 S. 20th St.), owned by a family member.

POSTED: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 2:06 AM
Testing the lighting at Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. Second St. (via Facebook)

Liberties, the taproom on Second Street near Fairmount Avenue, survived the first wave of Northern Liberties gentrification in the late '80s. It will have its last call Sunday, Feb. 16.

Rising in its place on Friday, Feb. 21 will be Bourbon & Branch*, a comfort-fooder/cocktail bar with plans to host an eclectic slate of live music on its second floor.

Chef/owner Alex Carbonell (Lola's in New Hope) says his menu (everything $19 and under) is inspired by classic European/American tavern fare. Vegetarian options abound amid sandwiches (burgers, sausage grinder, fish tacos), main plates (bourbon-glazed seitan, bangers and mash, shepherd's pie), pies and apps.

POSTED: Sunday, February 16, 2014, 1:11 AM

Part of Audrina Patridge's new job on the NBC lifestyle show 1st Look is to show off unique experiences.

She is in town this weekend.

Among her Philly experiences are eating a Whale and having a Top Chef chef'testant teaching her to crack an egg with one hand. On Monday, she will learn the pleasures of fried cheese curds eaten off a food truck when she visits The Cow & the Curd; this episode will be shown May 5.

POSTED: Friday, February 14, 2014, 3:45 PM
PYT in Northern Liberties. (photo via Facebook)

Tommy Up, corporate mogul?

The entrepreneur - who parlayed his penchant for party promotion into the Northern Liberties bar PYT - just inked a franchising deal with Dan Rowe of Fransmart, who helped put Five Guys and Qdoba on the world map.

Imagine several hundred PYTs in U.S. airports, malls and cities, Rowe says.

POSTED: Friday, February 14, 2014, 12:43 PM
Table setting at Fond, 1537 S. 11th St., Philadelphia, March 8, 2013. ( DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer )

You've seen the snow and read Craig LaBan's article about the beating that local restaurants have taken this week during what is one of the busier weeks of the year

So you think you're going to waltz into a hot restaurant tonight or tomorrow and score a table because some Nervous Nelly from Northampton got scared of driving.

Sure you will, Romeo.

POSTED: Friday, February 14, 2014, 1:57 AM
Il Cantuccio's new look at Third Street and Fairmount Avenue.

Il Cantuccio is one of those neighborhood stalwarts, a shoebox of a BYOB holding down the corner of Third Street and Fairmount Avenue in Northern Liberties since 1999.

About a year after its opening, owner Giuseppe Rosselli, who opened Trattoria Dell'Artista (which burned down in 1994) and then La Locanda del Ghiottone in Old City, died suddenly of a heart attack. Rosselli's widow has kept it going.

Spyro Tsibogos, a restaurant consultant and old friend and business partner of Giuseppe's, has redone the place with GM Candice Wetzel and executive chef David Levecchia. 

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 4:44 PM
Debbie Downer (screenshot via NBC)

What goes up must come down.

As I chronicle the multitude of restaurant openings, I must also acknowledge the closings. (Trust me: It's easier to get info about a restaurant's opening than it is about its closing.)

These closings should in no way be construed as a sign of the apocalypse.

POSTED: Thursday, February 13, 2014, 1:02 PM
The outdoor dining section at John's Roast Pork.

Last week, John Bucci of John's Roast Pork in South Philadelphia unveiled a new oven that finally allows his 80-year-old shop to roast its own beef.

The Buccis do take their time with innovation. This week brings a new feature - outdoor seating, something that just about every sandwich shop worth its sodium does.

The enclosure with picnic tables doesn't look like much, but the plastic keeps out the elements for about 40 patrons.

About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at mklein@philly.com.

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